Planning Portal

Processing Applications: Who does what?

This section identifies the parties involved in the planning process

The applicant

Anybody can make a planning application and there is no requirement for the applicant to have an interest in the site. However, Article 22 of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 requires that owners of land should be formally notified before a planning application can be considered.
It is advisable for applicants to discuss proposals informally at an early stage with any affected neighbours. When a planning approval has been issued the applicant is responsible for implementing the project in accordance with the planning permission and any conditions attached to it by the Department. Applicants also decide, with the help of any advisors they have, whether to appeal against a refusal of planning permission or conditions attached to a planning approval.

The agent

This is the person or organisation who is employed by the applicant to make a planning application on their behalf. It is not compulsory to employ an agent and it is the applicant's decision to use one or not

Planning and Local Government Group

Decisions on planning applications are made by the Department's Planning and Local Government Group following statutory consultation with the local district or borough Council. The Department gives careful consideration to the views of elected councillors, but the decision to grant or refuse planning permission is the responsibility of the Department.
When the Department receives an application it is placed on a register for public inspection. The application is publicised and processing begins taking due account of all comments received.

Other organisations

The Department consults widely with organisations that have special expertise, such as the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Roads Service.
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